The Instituto Italiano de Cultura is the cultural office of the Italian Embassy in Mexico. The Institute works on cultural cooperation, including official agreements between Italy and Mexico. This includes scholarships, enrollment in Italian universities and schools, recognition of diplomas, and many other procedures.
The main purpose of the Institute is to promote Italian language and culture. The Institute collaborates with Universities and schools in Italy to offer courses in literature, art, theater, cinema, translation, Latin, cooking, and oenology. They also work closely with Mexican institutions to support cultural events. These can include exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, conferences, and theater and dance performances.
The Institute library holds some 21,000 volumes, 120 Italian magazines, and some 1,400 videos and DVDs. The institute also runs an onsite café which is open to the public.
The building likely dates from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. It was originally a convent. In the early years of the 20th century, the property was divided and the western half was retained by the Franciscan Eucharistic Missionaries. The Polish government purchased the eastern half for use as the residence of the Polish ambassador. They sold the property to the Belgian government in the 1940s who put it to the same use. The Italian government acquired the property in 1975.
The property was restored and readapted by the Instituto Italiano de Cultura in 2001. Today, events here are some of the best attended in the Historic Center of Coyoacán.